KEEPING HOPE ALIVE
Re: The Prowler’s Sticky Situations:
Maybe it’s just me, but I seriously question the judgment of a man who has attended a church for over twenty years where its pastor shouts “God damn America” from the pulpit.
— Jim Karr
Blue Springs, Missouri
Thank you for your mention of the Dallas, Texas-based Cathedral of Hope, the world’s largest liberal Christian church with a predominantly lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender outreach. While we are proud to be a congregation of the United Church of Christ, the church actually was founded by a group of 12 courageous men and women in 1970. We took the name “Cathedral of Hope” in 1990. It was not until February 2007 that we were installed as a member of the UCC.
— David Plunkett
Asst. to Rev. Piazza/Media Relations
Cathedral of Hope/Hope for Peace & Justice
In your March 14, 2008 “The Prowler,” regarding Senator Obama’s pastor, Rev. Dr. Wright, you state:
“But Trinity and Wright have created and will create problems for Obama, though the United Church of Christ is a church that certainly fits with the candidate’s radical, leftist roots. For example, the UCC helped to found not only the nation’s, but the world’s largest gay and lesbian house of worship, the Cathedral of Hope in Dallas, Texas.”
I take issue that just because a church welcomes gays and lesbians, it is somehow to be regarded as “radical” and “leftist.”
I am a gay man, but I’m hardly a “radical leftist,” as my more liberal, Democrat friends will attest. In matter of national security, economics, the size of government, I’m very much a conservative. I’m also Eastern Orthodox. And I intend on voting for John McCain. When it comes to social issues, I guess you could call me libertarian. There are many more of us “log cabin republicans” than either liberals or the columnists at the major conservative journals of opinion would care to admit. I do agree that the United Church of Christ is liberal as denominations go, much too liberal for my tastes.
But if being kind to gays and lesbians, and offering them a spiritual home, which most evangelical, fundamentalist, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox Churches are loathe to do (unless we “act” straight), is “radical” and “leftist” then I thank God for their radicalism and leftism. However, the word I would use for such affirming churches is “Christian,” as in imitating Christ’s love for all mankind, as opposed to the preconceived, bigoted, and narrow minded interpretations of so-called Biblical literalists and the hierarchal churches. There are many, many gays and lesbians who very much believe in the basic precepts of Christianity, and are for the most part social and economic conservatives/libertarians, who eschew big government “solutions” to the problems faced by today’s fast paced and complicated society. To lump these all these people in with leftists, presumably of the type found at MoveOn.org and Michael Moore movies is unfair and ignorant on your part.
Over the years I’ve enjoyed reading opinion journals such as The American Spectator, but I cringe at the continual assertions and insinuations in these magazines that to be conservative/libertarian means you must be straight and anti-gay, with the converse that all gays and lesbians are ultra-liberal Democrats. They are not. And I believe you really know better than that. The bigotry exhibited in anti-gay churches only helps to drive gays and lesbians out of the hands of God into agnosticism, atheism, and secularism, and the prejudice exhibited by conservative journals of opinion such as yours only helps to drive more and more gays and lesbians to vote for liberal Democrats.
— Richard C. Hornung
Barack H. Obama’s flimsy explanation he posted March 14 on the Web, at the Huffington Post, is one dog that will not hunt — and one that arrived very, very late to the hunt. What will hunt, though, is the now-evident deceit of his claim to openness.
That deception’s evidenced by his clumsiness, caginess and slowness in attempting to respond to this firestorm. And going online to a leftist Web site rather than first going to the drive-by mainstream print or broadcast news media, through which much more of the electorate might get the news? Please.
Given the status Obama bestowed on his former pastor in the senator’s political and personal lives, what also will hunt is the now-apparent emptiness of words Obama spoke the night of his Iowa primary victory.
According to news reports, he said, in part: “This was the moment when we finally beat back the policies of fear and doubts and cynicism, the politics where we tear each other down instead of lifting this country up….Years from now, you’ll look back and you’ll say that this was the moment, this was the place where America remembered what it means to hope.”
Much sooner than he would like or expect, America likely will reflect on how Obama’s and his team’s arrogance, as well as lack of common sense and integrity, exposed him and derailed his campaign.
— C.K. Amos
Princeton, West Virginia
Why, I wonder, has no one yet pointed out that, whereas Barack Obama’s public statements have not sounded like Rev. Wright, some of Michelle Obama’s public statements most decidedly have.
Perhaps she caught the Wright virus and he didn’t. Perhaps she can’t control what she says publicly but he can. Perhaps his long experience as a politician — with everything that implies — is the explanation.
I have to admit that the flag pin and Pledge of Allegiance stories make a world of sense after having heard the Reverend preach.
It’s not good.
— A. C. Santore
Obama can’t distance himself from racist Reverend Wright. Saying he doesn’t agree with some of Wright’s blatherings hasn’t kept Obama, or his belle Michelle, from dragging their children to Church to listen and absorb this drivel. It might even constitute child abuse as it only teaches them to hate the white in themselves. I now completely understand why his wife has never been proud to be an American. Listening to a black Himmler spewing racial and anti-American hatred Sunday after Sunday certainly must leave a slimy residue.
I do wonder: does Michelle Obama secretly hate her husband’s white mother and take pride in the black father who abandoned him at an early age? Does Reverend Wright hate his own whiteness, too? Do either of them have memory of hundreds of thousands of Union soldiers that fought, bled and died to make Blacks free? Does Barack, himself ever think about it?
— Wolf Terner
Fair Lawn, New Jersey
The thrust of the discussion by writers and talking heads about Obama’s association with the Trinity UCC, Rev. Wright, and by association, his wife, Michelle has been what he has to do to make himself a more viable candidate. That’s somewhat interesting from the tactical perspective of political science or an advisor. However, what is lost and ignored in a strategic discussion that has yet to be broached is answering the bigger and more analytical question of what will happen to these people if he is elected.
Undoubtedly, both are or will be being muzzled or reined in until Nov 12th when, if their guy wins, they will become an integral part of an Obama administration…as they already are.
Does one actually think that Michelle Obama will go silently into the executive mansion and “bake cookies”? She’ll make Hillary’s time as first lady seem gentle and uninvolved. Or does one actually think that Rev. Wright will become “Spiritual Advisor Emeritus” providing ceremonial pastoral duties? More likely he’ll continue to lead his chorus but with an obvious seat at the table.
— Rick Osial
Why does Obama keep getting a free pass? Why is any inquiry, or challenge to his record, or unsavory associations, met with accusations of racism? Jeremiah Wright, an obvious racist and anti-Semite, endorses, supports and praises Farrakhan…Obama is a lot more connected to Wright than a mere case of guilt by association. Obama himself has described Wright as his spiritual advisor and mentor of 20 years. Obama was going to have Wright speak at his announcement to run ceremony, until he realized it would be a bad political decision. Any fool can weigh 20 years of involvement against a momentary halfhearted denouncement, motivated by personal political ambition. The left and the media has fashioned Obama into a sacred cow, who is above reproach. Obama’s record, and associations have become like the Emperor’s new clothes, even when the future of the world is at stake!
— Howard Cossman
BATON ROUGE BOBBY
Re: James P. Lucier’s How McCain Can Win the Base:
Bobby Jindal will be President of the United States. It’s just a matter of when. The GOP needs more quality people like Bobby Jindal.
Regarding choosing Bobby Jindal as VP, I suggest we leave Gov Jindal alone to solve the sordid mess of Louisiana. Let Gov. Jindal spend time doing what he promised to do and shows every evidence of doing, righting a century of wrongs in Louisiana’s history.
For my money I’d recommend J.C. Watts from Oklahoma. I heard this man speak in UT Tyler in 2004, the week before Pres. Bush was re-elected. Here is a wonderful man of integrity and principled voice who could really make a change for America. Someone get busy and tell McCain he’d win automatically if he had J.C. Watts on his team.
— B. Gunn
East Texas Rancher
Bobby Jindal would be an excellent choice for Vice President, but will he want to leave Louisiana? Will he choose to leave the state house after such a short time in charge? Of course, knowing McCain is probably a one term President and his Vice President is a shoo-in for the 2012 nomination may just entice him to leave Baton Rouge to return to DC even though Baton Rouge is a whole lot nicer than the Potomac hellhole.
— Michael Tomlinson
McCain needs to pick someone who has vast experience in Economics, since that seems to be one of his weaknesses. Someone who has traveled the world for business opportunities. He also has to have someone who knows how to run a national campaign, and appeals to Conservatives. Hmmm, does the name Mitt Romney come to mind?
Incidentally, in James Lucier’s column, once again McCain’s age is brought up. Apparently no one is to discuss Obama’s race, but it seems every other day some mention is made in the media about McCain’s age. By now everyone who is interested in politics knows that he is 71, so how about giving it a rest.
— Lucille McClure
San Jose, California
I read Mr. Lucier’s column with an overwhelming sense of dismay, and yet dismay is not near a strong enough word. There is not an iota of doubt in my mind that Gov. Jindal will be a superstar in the GOP, if he gets his due.
There is no doubt that he can handle a job considerably larger than the governor of Louisiana. I do not mean to denigrate Louisiana. I believe that he can handle a job bigger than governor of New York or California also. But please, is the GOP bench that thin? My heavens, the man was just installed in the Governor’s office three months ago. Could we wait until he gets his office key before we move him out again?
So we team him with McCain and McCain loses. Now Jindal has a large loss on his record, and he returns to Louisiana as damaged goods and with the state Democrat forces strengthened against him. Geez, can’t we see what kind of a record he can establish after the honeymoon from the Governor’s race is over? How many times have we rushed a rising GOP star to the front of the bus before they were ready for prime time, only to see them flame out, never to be heard from again in any serious way. Let the man build his foundation. Trying to erect a structure without first building a foundation is a sure way to witness tragedy.
OK, so we team him with McCain and they win. We will now have four years, possibly eight, of him being totally subsumed by McCain’s gigantic ego. Again I use the example of Alban Barkley or Harry Truman with FDR. And excuse me, but when was the last time that McCain played nice with anyone that he had total enmity for? And who was the last politician to seriously battle McCain on an issue that he did not have enmity for?
Jindal as Veep would be a minimum of four years of the biggest waste of a seriously talented politician that I have heard of in a very long time. Not only that, but I believe that Jindal is that rare political animal, a politician that stands by his true beliefs regardless of public opinion polls or political opposition.
Mr. Lucier, are you rushing to a fire sale with your lights blinking and siren wailing? Let’s allow Gov. Jindal some time to ferment and age. Time mellows out the wine and makes it even more valuable. We might well need the likes of a Bobby Jindal to pick up the pieces of a seriously broken GOP in 2010 or 2012. Or failing that, to put together a GOP replacement party. Maybe we could call it the American Conservative Party, or the Save America First Party. We simply must quit sacrificing our future well being for considerations of the present moment. Take a few moments to really study history, and then a few more moments to plan for the future, beyond tomorrow or next week. Every problem cannot, nor should it be, solved in sixty minutes with time out for commercials.
— Ken Shreve
McCain’s CPAC speech did not impress; his primary “victory” speech did not impress; and his full hour on H&C last night certainly did not impress. However, if he picks Gov. Jindal as his second, I’ll vote for the ticket in a VA minute.
Yes, I’m a recovering FredHead — and yes, I do have a wide, long, and deep libertarian streak. I love the concept of limited government; and of course, I really love the concept of low taxes. If the former Naval officer sticks to his knitting and focuses only on the management of all things foreign, he’ll have my unswerving loyalty. But here’s the real keeper — if he turns over all things domestic to the LA Gov, and signs those documents that require a Presidential signature only after they undergo a full and complete vetment by Mr. Jindal, then full-fledged conservatives, and those with a similar bent to mine (libertarian with a conservative skew), will definitely have something to crow about.
And it is about damn time!
— Owen H. Carneal, Jr.
As a classical liberal (i.e. conservative libertarian) I would change my mind and consider voting for McCain if he selected Bobby Jindal for veep — but only if McCain would butt out of the way and let Bobby Jindal lead the charge in the battle of ideas and policy.
People say “support McCain, we can’t risk a President Obama,” but I don’t know if we can risk another philosophically confused faux conservative presidency. It could be the death of the conservative brand; nobody under age 40 even knows what a conservative-principled GOP looks like, and McCain is not helping any more than Bush did. We’re currently getting socialism on energy, Social Security, etc., but all the resulting problems are being blamed on the GOP and conservatism because political incompetents have made a sanctimonious fetish of “reaching across the aisle” instead of clearly criticizing the bad policies and the people promoting them.
Left to himself McCain would, in his utter philosophical confusion, lead the charge into a clueless Teddy Roosevelt progressivism. No thanks — if I wanted national-purpose socialism (i.e. soft fascism) I’d vote for Barry or Hillary.
The only question is whether we can really afford to risk a spectacular hope like Bobby Jindal by chaining him to the philosophical and political failure that is the current GOP national leadership. Bobby Jindal should really be at the top of the ticket.
— Eric Richter
Grand Rapids, Michigan
This is not the first time that Jindal has come up as a potential VP.
The flaw in the proposition is that Bobby Jindal would not accept it. He truly believes that the state of Louisiana needs him (it does) and that he has a responsibility to serve his term as governor (and the likely second one). He has made some notable improvements in the state, but not enough to lessen his sense of duty.
— Michael Huete
We really need this guy to stick around Louisiana for the next 8 years or so, please don’t try and steal him away from us. Thanks!
— Cy Brown
In the words of Obama — Vice President?!
— Michael Skaggs
THE LIMITS OF REFORM
Re: W. James Antle III’s Third Wheels:
Tom Pauken’s article (cited in your write-up) about the 2000 election’s fight between the Buchanan supporters and Reform’s rank and file is complete bullshit. The Brigade sought, at the direction of Buchanan HQ’s Tim Haley, to purge everyone not like them upon entry into party affairs. We fought back. It had absolutely nothing to do with Ventura, but had plenty to do with the FEC’s funding and the desire of the GOP to “raid” and damage us.
I was there, and I’m still digging the daggers out of my back. I helped Bucky’s people on board in Texas only to have them turn on me and everyone else within the existing structure within a matter of weeks. I count Pauken in that group. Prior to Buchanan’s decision to seek RP’s nomination, I even went to his Dallas office (September 1999) and met privately with him at his request to explore what I’d believed to be our common interests.
Again; Pauken is a liar. If the future you wish to write anything about The Reform Party, whether historical or not, I suggest strongly that you talk with us prior to talking about us. We’re not that hard to find and we have nothing to lose by being truthful. Please allow for the simple courtesy of a phone call next time. It’s a sure-fire method for avoiding the publication of fiction as fact.
— Charles Foster
Immediate Past Chairman
Reform Party National Committee
W. James Antle III replies: While Mr. Foster gives us the Perot faction’s side of the story and Mr. Pauken tilts toward the Buchanan camp, some facts of the Reform Party crack-up are not in serious dispute. Allies of Ross Perot and Pat Buchanan joined forces to expel Jesse Ventura’s handpicked party chairman and gain control of the national committee. Ventura responded by leaving the party. Afterward, the two groups turned against each other.
Disagreements remain over why. The 2000 Buchanan campaign wanted the Reform Party’s state ballot lines and $12.6 million in public financing. The pro-Perot old guard wanted to preserve the Reform Party’s economic nationalism, opposed by Ventura, and a presidential candidate who could win the 5 percent of the vote necessary to keep the FEC funds flowing. But the deal became complicated when the Buchanan brigades made a play for party leadership roles in their own right. The Perot faction cried takeover; the Buchanan supporters protested that they were just trying to avoid a replay of what happened to Richard Lamm four years earlier.
Either way, the feud basically destroyed the Reform Party. All that’s left are a few state ballot lines and some dead-enders playing political party. There’s really no one left to call.
KEEPING ONE’S COOL
Re: Paul Chesser’s The South Baptist Capitulation:
Recently, you wrote: “I defy anyone to read the entire Bible and find clear condemnation from God for ‘damaging the world.’ People, yes, dirt, no.”
This was in response to the SBC (Southern Baptist Convention) recently putting out a statement that they agree with protecting the environment. They did NOT, however, state that they were climate alarmists.
I am not a member of the SBC, but instead am Presbyterian (member of the Presbyterian Church in America, actually). However, I do believe that we should care for the earth…but am also not a climate alarmist. I also believe that anthropomorphic global warming is a complete fallacy (at best!).
Having said that, humans have done much damage to the earth, and we should do all we can to care for the world. While the Bible is greatly concerned with how we care for each other and for how we respond to God, you don’t need to go far to see a statement that we should care for the world:
Genesis 2:15 — The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. We should be “keeping” the earth, as it is a gift to us from God.
I would agree with you that the liberal way of “keeping” the earth is rather misguided (not clearing the brush from the forests of the west coast, for instance, actually INCREASE the amount/likelihood/strength/reach/damage of forest fires). But, the SBC is putting out a paper for Christians to take a reasonable way to care for the earth.
This should be encouraged and up-held, not condemned.
— Jeff Kadlec
As a SBC pastor, let me say very simply this: those who have perpetrated this idiocy do not speak for the majority of us. Our current president, Frank Page, has grossly misused the mantra of his office to sign this document. Unfortunately, with our convention coming only three months and his mandatory “retirement” from the office, we do not have time to remove him. Rest assured, there will be discussion and I would anticipate repudiation of this ridiculous statement.
— Jim Garlington
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